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US Government Responds To Buju Banton's Appeal

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BUJU BANTON
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MIAMI -- The U.S. government says plenty of evidence supports a federal jury's conviction of Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton on cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is appealing the February 2011 conviction. Defense attorney David O. Markus says his client was relentlessly pursued by a government informant, resulting in improper entrapment.

Federal prosecutors filed their response Friday in Atlanta's federal appeals court.

Prosecutors say Banton's words and actions, in recorded conversations and a videotaped meeting in a Sarasota, Fla., warehouse where Banton tasted some cocaine, revealed the singer "eagerly brokered" a drug deal between a friend and undercover government agents.

They also asked the appeals court to reverse a judge's decision to toss a related gun charge.

Banton is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

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